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Can you build a startup on the foundation of diversity?

Creating a startup is hard (hot take I know).  While diversity is important, in general, startups begin with a group of friends / associates who are looking to enter a market and grow their future business.  Although many in the diversity field push for a diverse batch of employees, it’s hard to argue for diversity when a company isn’t sure if it will survive the winter.

As a supporter of diversity, I have also said time and time again that businesses, in particular startups should be focused on being successful.  Period!  As a owner of a startup, when you initiate a business your focus isn’t so much on employee engagement as it is on “where is my next meal” coming from.  I agree that of your initial hires, diversity can be a great thing to add to the foundation of your corporation, but I don’t agree that it should be forced into a startup Day 1…or even Day 2.

Culture matters, but when its just the founders, culture revolves around Ramen noodles and 10 hour Tuesdays.  Although not the ideal situation, diversity has to come up when a business is expanding and looking to hire sustainable employees.  In that situation, expert companies helping to grow small businesses should be consulted to help grow the best way for their business.  I do believe bringing on a diverse group early on is a good way to help creatively expand while hitting markets not generally thought of.

Diversity is necessary for a corporation and small business, but not so much for a startup, just like a salary is necessary for a corporation and small business, but not so much for a startup.

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